Aug 282018
 

NCIS: Season 15 is hardly the best in the long-running series nor the best written, but I still generally enjoyed the season and Maria Bello seems like a nice addition, though hopefully she’ll stick around beyond a couple of years.

 

 

NCIS: The Fifteenth Season
(2017-18)

Genre(s): Drama, Crime
Paramount | NR – 1027 min. – $55.98 | August 21, 2018

Date Published: 08/28/2018 | Author: The Movieman


SERIES INFO:
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Donald P. Bellisario & Don McGill (created by)
Cast: Mark Harmon, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, Maria Bello, Wilmer Valderrama, Brian Dietzen, Emily Wickersham, Duane Henry, Rocky Carroll, David McCallum
DISC INFO:
Features: Episode Commentaries, Featurettes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: DVD
Number of Discs: 6
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH
Region(s): 1

SEASON REVIEW — 3.5/5


Season Synopsis: Confronting cold cases, running secretive stings, and chasing down kidnappers are all part of the job for the heroes of the Major Case Response team. The season opens where season 14 left off as Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (MARK HARMON) and Senior Special Agent Timothy McGee (SEAN MURRAY) had been captured and tortured following a botched mission in Paraguay. Even as the pair is eventually rescued, the psychological effects are ever present.

Meanwhile, the cases keep coming in as the team — Special Agent Ellie Bishop (EMILY WICKERSHAM), Special Agent Nick Torres (WILMER VALDERRAMA), Forensic Specialist Abby Sciuto (PAULEY PERRETTE), Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Donald Mallard (DAVID MCCALLUM), his assistant Dr. Jimmy Palmer (BRIAN DIETZEN) and International Desk Agent Clayton Reeves (DUANE HENRY) — are joined by Special Agent and profiler Dr. Jack Sloane (MARIA BELLO).

Quick Hit Review: I’ve been a fan of NCIS pretty much since the beginning and despite the turnover with the cast which began with the departure of Sasha Alexander in only the show’s second season, it’s remained consistently entertaining. Its endurance was put to the test once both Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly left in seasons 11 and 13 respectively and Weatherly’s replacement, Jennifer Esposito bolted in season 14, it seems like the series is trying to find its footing, not unlike fellow CBS crime procedural, Criminal Minds.

Season 15 finds venerable actress Maria Bello joining the show as Jack Sloane, bringing a more psychological profiler perspective that is at least new as that aspect generally fell upon David McCallum’s character and with the actor pretty much being semi-retired appearing in only a handful of episodes, while still being a series regular, Bello is a bit of fresh air. Speaking of Mallard’s absence, it’s also nice seeing Brian Dietzen’s Palmer getting more to do and taking a bigger lead and finding his own voice now no longer playing second fiddle.

The season isn’t all wonderful, however. While NCIS never was known for its amazing writing or generally the intricate plots outside of a few of the multi-part episodes, but there was at least some genuine mystery surrounding the cases. This year I found myself correctly guessing the “twists” and turns very early on that it does detract some of the entertainment value, thankfully it is somewhat offset by the enjoyable and even charismatic cast, and yes that includes both Wilmer Valderrama and Emily Wickersham, both of whom have been widely criticized.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5


As with previous sets, the 6-discs are housed in 3 separate thin case tucked inside a cardboard slip case.

Episode Commentaries:

  • ‘Keep Your Friends Close’ – Executive Producer/Actor Mark Harmon, Actor Joe Spano, Writer Gina Lucita Monreal and Director Mark Horowitz. Kind of odd there wasn’t a continuation track on the second part, ‘Keep Your Enemies Closer’
  • ‘Death From Above’ – Director/Actor Rocky Carroll and Writer Christopher J. Waild

This set comes with several featurettes:

  • Make It Rain (4:04) looks at the episode ‘Skeleton Crew’ and using the hurricane storm as a metaphor for the story and the introduction to Bello’s character
  • Friends and Enemies (8:22) breaks down the two-part episode (‘Keep Your Friends Close’ and ‘Keep Your Enemies Closer’) and the advancement of Spano’s longtime Fornell character
  • A Conversation with Mark Harmon and Joe Spano (5:26) has the actors discussing their respective characters relationships and how they have evolved over the course of 15 years.
  • NCIS: Inside Season 15 (25:11) is on what the writers and producers wanted to bring for this 15th season and some of the challenges and changes.
  • Hello Jack Sloan: Maria Bello Joins the Cast (10:12) is on the introduction of Bello’s character and what she brings to the ensemble.
  • David McCallum Answers the Proust Questionnaire (6:36) has the actor answering a variety of personal questions like what is happiness and the like.
  • NCIS at 15 (13:34) is split into four parts looking at the special and visual effects, stunts and cinematography.

 

VIDEO – 3.75/5, AUDIO – 4.0/5


NCIS arrives on DVD through Paramount and shown in it’s originally televised 16×9 enhanced 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio. The video this time around more or less matches up with previous seasons where colors are more on the drab side, moving more towards naturals so there’s real pop to it, however the overall look is nice.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is, as with previous seasons, pretty good with a spattering of depth in particular on the opening theme and dialogue levels are clear and sound effects are fairly decent though hardly expansive. It’s a fine track that is more or less in keeping with how the show aired. (Copied from “NCIS” Season 11 DVD Review)

OVERALL – 3.5/5


Overall, NCIS: Season 15 is hardly the best in the long-running series nor the best written, but I still generally enjoyed the season and Maria Bello seems like a nice addition, though hopefully she’ll stick around beyond a couple of years. The DVD set has fine video/audio transfers while the bonus material was decent, though I miss the roundtable discussion which was included in a previous season set.
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